Get to Know Your AT Advocate!

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By Emily Flynn, Program Coordinator for Ability Tools

picture of Jorge Ruiz from CCCL wearing a blue polo with CCCIL's logo on it sitting in a chair
This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jorge Ruiz for our new AT Advocate’s Blog series.  Jorge is an AT Advocate at Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL) in Salinas, CA.  Jorge has been an extraordinary member of CCCIL’s team for over five years now!  Jorge not only work as an AT advocate, he also manages CCCIL’s AT Device Lending Library (DLL) as well.

Q: What is your background and/or interest in AT?

A: I have a background in Art and Design with an emphasis on Product Development. When I  was in college I took a few courses focused on adaptive Kinesiology. In these classes I learned a lot about adaptive equipment like wheelchairs and this sparked my interest in designing AT that would benefit people with disabilities.

Q: What is your favorite part of being an AT Advocate?

A: My favorite part of being an AT advocate is that I am constantly learning new things and I get to do research on the latest AT services all the time.

Q: What is your favorite AT and why?

A: My glasses, because I use them everyday and I have been wearing them forever!  Low vision aids are popular and people are always drawn to them – like the magnifiers I bring when I am at an outreach event.

Q: What are the most popular items that you loan out?

A: Definitely the iPads, especially for use as a communication device. I lend out to a lot of them to Speech Language Pathologists that borrow them for their students. I also have been doing more outreach events to organizations for parents in search of communication devices and I showcase our tablets and the communication apps on them.

Q: Can you tell us about a time thpicture of Jorge and his consumer talking in chairs in his officeat your DLL really made a difference in someone’s life?

A:  I recently worked with a consumer that borrowed an iPad and a Chromebook for communication purposes. When she went to her Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) counselor and showed them the success she was having with the tablet and apps, they agreed to purchase one for her.  After a 3 month process DOR had purchased my consumer her very own new iPad. This was a great success!

Q: What items are on your wish list that you would want to have to loan or give away?

A: A Mercury (Aquos) Handheld Magnifier and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) –  it is a touch based live magnification device that can perform accurate full page OCR. It has 5.5 inch display screen with a built in LED light, magnification up to 10X in live mode and 30X in OCR mode, talk back menu, false color options, intuitive touch navigation, accurate full page OCR, ability to save and load photos and documents, and various reading options.

To find your local AT Advocate and Independent Living Center in California, click here.

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